Planned Giving Drives Couple's Philanthropic Decisions
When Pat and Jerry Abbott dreamed of retirement, they imagined themselves with time on their hands, touring the country in a shiny new RV outfitted with all the comforts of home. Little did they know they'd be making a road trip - make that several road trips - to MD Anderson.
Two years ago, acting on a hunch, Jerry asked his doctor to order a colonoscopy, though a previous sigmoidoscopy, a minimally invasive examination of the large intestine, had found nothing wrong. Despite questions as to the need for further screening, the test was scheduled at a facility in Corpus Christi. The diagnosis: colon cancer. Facing surgery, Jerry knew his next decision would be one of the most important in his life. He insisted on heading straight for MD Anderson, where, he says, "cancer is what they do."
"I wanted to go to MD Anderson because of its reputation as a world-class cancer center," says Jerry. "The doctors there perform more surgeries to treat specific cancers in one week than others do in a year. I wanted to go where cancer is the specialty."
Today Jerry is cancer-free. He says if he ever wins the Texas Lottery, "I'll give it all to MD Anderson."
In the meantime, the couple has structured their planned giving to include three charitable gift annuities to MD Anderson, plus an additional gift through their estate.
The Abbotts continue to travel, occasionally parking their RV in Houston for Jerry's six-month checkups. They covered 11 states last summer, and the next big trip on their calendar is a month-long visit to Australia.
With renewed interests in holistic medicine, nutrition and prevention, they're proud that one day their planned giving will support meaningful research, such as that conducted by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph. D., director of the institution's Integrative Medicine Program, and Frank C. Marini, Ph.D., associate professor of stem cell transplantation research.
"It's exciting to think that Pat and I can make a difference in their work," says Jerry.